You don't need to be an expert in the kitchen to put together this easy baingan bharta recipe. It's a take on eggplant that will have even the biggest skeptics asking for seconds.
Let us show you how!
Baingan Bharta, or eggplant mashed with spices, is a traditional dish in Indian cuisine. It's similar to baba ganoush in regards to the eggplant preparation. However, the spices are what set these dishes apart.
We're aware eggplant is not a food people generally rave about. It can turn out slimy and bitter if prepared wrong, so most tend to steer clear of it. But, the way it comes together with this combination of spices is so delicious, it's virtually impossible not to love.
Whenever we go out for Indian food or make it at home, we always include some baingan bharta. It's such a staple for us because of how easy it is to throw together.
Traditionally, the eggplant is roasted over an open flame like a barbecue or gas stove. But, to make this a more accessible recipe for everyone, we oven-roasted and broiled ours, then added in smoke flavors.
🍲 Key ingredients
- Eggplant: well, it wouldn't be a baingan bharta without some baingan! This purple superfood is mashed and combined with a few spices to create a creamy base texture. And, there are amazing compounds in eggplant, called anthocyanins, which help protect our cells against damage! Neature.
- Tomatoes: the perfect way to balance out the creamy eggplant base is by adding tomatoes! They give a fresh, tart flavor that rounds everything off. Tomatoes contain one of the highest amounts of an antioxidant called lycopene, which has been shown to help prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer. Now, that's a super fruit.
- Spices: fresh ginger, garlic, and chilis combined with cumin, turmeric, and garam masala make for a deadly spice combo. The reason we love Indian cuisine so much is that you can turn simple base ingredients, like eggplant or chickpeas, into an incredible dish with the right balance of flavors. And of course, they're all super healthy for you!
- Liquid smoke: since we didn't use a barbecue or gas stove to cook the eggplant, we added in liquid smoke and smoked paprika to help achieve that traditional smoky flavor of baingan bharta. However, if you own either a gas stove or barbecue, you can use that too!
To begin, you'll need to preheat your oven to 475 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the eggplants in half, and make slashes on each side.
Season the halves with sea salt, then let them sit for 10-15 minutes to draw out any excess water. Then, pat the eggplant halves dry with a clean towel. Brush each side with oil and season with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
Bake your eggplant face down for about 40 minutes. Then, turn your oven to broil for another few minutes to blacken the skins. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel the skin off (which should be easy) and remove the hard stem. Mash the peeled eggplant in a bowl with a bit of liquid smoke.
In the meantime, prepare the other veggies and drain off some of the liquid from the can of diced tomatoes. Sauté your onions until translucent, then add in the garlic, ginger, chilis, tomatoes, and spices. Allow everything to become fragrant.
Lastly, mix in the eggplant purée, coconut sugar, and lime juice. And just before turning the heat off, stir in the garam masala, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Add chilis for more heat, liquid smoke or smoked paprika for a smoky flavor, lime juice for tang, or coconut sugar to balance out the flavors. Serve this baingan bharta immediately with roti, rice, or chopped cilantro on top!
You can keep this recipe in the fridge for up to 4-5 days in an airtight container. It also stores well in the freezer for up to 1 month in a freezer-safe bag.
To serve, simply reheat it on the stove or microwave, and serve with grain and garnishes of choice.
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Use cane sugar instead of coconut sugar
- Instead of lime, use a cheaper acid like vinegar
- Serve this with a larger side of rice to make it last longer
🍴 Tasting notes
We love how easy this delicious recipe is to make. We hope you'll love it too! Its:
If you try this eggplant bharta, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
- Baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- Chef knife
- Mixing bowl
- Large skillet
- 900 grams eggplant (approx. 9-10 cups) ($2.23)
- 3 tbsp neutral oil, divided ($0.36)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika ($0.10)
- 4-5 drops liquid smoke ($0.03)
- 1 medium white onion ($0.24)
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced ($0.06)
- 1 fresh hot green chili pepper ($0.25)
- 1 tbsp cumin ($0.03)
- 1 tsp turmeric ($0.01)
- 1 28 fl. oz can diced tomatoes ($0.73)
- 1 tsp coconut sugar ($0.01)
- 1 tbsp lime juice ($0.09)
- 2 tsp garam masala ($0.05)
- Salt & pepper to taste ($0.02)
- 1 handful cilantro, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 475°F, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, and make diagonal slashes on each side. Season eggplant halves with sea salt, making sure to rub it in. Let the eggplant sit for 10-15 minutes to get rid of some excess water.
- In the meantime, chop your onion, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. Drain off about half the juice from the can of diced tomatoes. Optionally, remove the tomatoes from the can and finely chop them. Set aside.
- Then, pat the eggplant halves dry with a clean towel. Use about 1 tbsp total of neutral oil to brush each half and season with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Bake eggplant halves face down on the aluminum foil at 450°F for 35-40 minutes. Then, turn your oven to high broil for another 4-5 minutes to blacken the skins. Take eggplant out of the oven, and let everything cool for about 5 minutes before removing the skins.
- When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel the skin off (this should be easy) and trim away the hard stem. Chop or mash in a bowl with approx. 4-5 drops of liquid smoke, then set aside.
- Heat remaining oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add in the onion and sauté until turning translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and green chili pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Next, add in the cumin, turmeric, and tomatoes. Stir to combine and allow the spices to become fragrant, about 5-6 minutes.
- Lastly, add in the eggplant purée, coconut sugar, and lime juice and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Just before turning the heat off, stir in the garam masala, salt, and pepper.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add chilis for more heat, liquid smoke for a smoky flavor, lime juice for tang, or coconut sugar to balance out the flavors.
- Serve this baingan bharta immediately garnished with chopped cilantro and roti or rice.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of this recipe.
- This recipe is also great with fresh tomatoes. Use about 2-3 cups of fresh tomatoes in place of the canned tomatoes.
- For the green chili pepper, we typically just use jalapeño. But, serrano or Thai varieties also work depending on your spice preference.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty dish ideas, check out our:
- Smoky baba ganoush dip for another smoky and creamy eggplant recipe.
- Easy chana masala because it's simple and delicious!
- Vegan red lentil dahl to fill up on a fiber and protein-rich meal.
- Smashed curried chickpea salad for tuna salad's way cooler cousin.
If you have access to a barbecue, that's great! Just make a couple of slits in the skin of the eggplant, and roast it over a medium flame either on a bbq or a gas stove until the skin appears charred.
You can absolutely prepare the eggplant beforehand. Just roast it and store it with the skins on in your fridge. When you are ready to make the baingan bharta, prepare the eggplant the same way as in the recipe directions.